Basketball: US beats Slovenia in final World Cup tuneup
LAS PALMAS, Canary Islands — Mike Krzyzewski’s big men had barely finished pushing around Slovenia when he was asked how they would match up with Spain’s imposing frontcourt.
“I’m not going to compare. I haven’t seen Spain play,” Krzyzewski said. “If we play Spain, it’s a long way away. So I’m just concentrating on U.S. and trying to get better.”
There’s plenty of time, but his big guys are looking pretty good so far.
Anthony Davis scored 18 points and teamed with Kenneth Faried to dominate the inside, leading the U.S. national team to a 101-71 victory over Slovenia on Tuesday in its final exhibition game before the FIBA World Cup of Basketball.
Faried finished with 14 points for the Americans, who next head to Bilbao, Spain, for their tournament opener Saturday against Finland. The defending world champions also will face Turkey, New Zealand, the Dominican Republic and Ukraine in pool play.
A matchup with Spain, and its big men of Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka, wouldn’t come until the gold-medal game on Sept. 14 in Madrid. The Americans picked a bigger team than usual after years of playing small, perhaps with Spain in mind, and appear capable of looking eye-to-eye with anyone.
“We just try to make sure that whatever we do, we do together, because we know it’s going to be tough in the tournament,” Davis said.
The Americans weren’t particularly impressive throughout the last of their four warmup games, their first since picking their final 12-man roster on Saturday. But they were aggressive, with Davis and Faried wearing out the Slovenians — and even hooking up on a rare big-to-big alley-oop when Davis threw down Faried’s lob pass for a 65-39 lead midway through the third quarter.
Kyrie Irving added 13 points while starting at point guard for the Americans ahead of Derrick Rose, and they played together at times. Rose had three points. Rudy Gay and Klay Thompson each scored 11.
The U.S. missed five of its first six free-throw attempts but got plenty more chances, finishing 29 of 46 at the line. Slovenia was just 10 of 17.
Phoenix Suns star Goran Dragic had only six points on 3-of-11 shooting as one of the many Slovenians saddled with foul problems. His brother, Zoran, led Slovenia with 16 points.